July 30, 2012

Google Integrating Video Chat With Gmail

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

Google announced that it is introducing a video chat upgrade that brings its modern video calling service to smartphones and Gmail.

With the newly upgraded service, users will now be able to reach friends not only using Gmail, but also on Google+ or on an Android or Apple powered phone.

"Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google´s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality," Google wrote in a blog post about the new service.

The company said that all Gmail users will now be able to chat with their Google+ friends, and talk with up to nine people at once.

Users will be able to watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google documents, and share their screens.

"Plus, Hangouts has a bunch of fun effects that you can try out...because any conversation is better when you're wearing a virtual mustache or pirate hat," Google wrote in the post.

Google has been extending its Google+ features lately, including an introduction to YouTube parties in June.  This feature allows Google+ users to watch YouTube videos together while video chatting online.

While Google continues to add features to its Gmail service, one writer at Tech Crunch wrote an analysis of how all the company is doing is bogging down its email services.

"On a high-speed FiOS connection, on an Internet where clicks translate to immediate actions, it´s incredible to watch Gmail struggle to even function," Sarah Perez wrote for Tech Crunch. "10 seconds to perform a search, 14 seconds to open an email message, 10 seconds to expand a conversation thread."

Google Gmail service continues to grow, but its Google+ social network is still struggling to catch up to Facebook.  The company's moves to keep integrating Gmail and Google+ services is seen as an attempt to convert its email users over to the social network.

The new Hangouts in Gmail feature started rolling out today, and will be completely integrated over the coming weeks, according to Google.

"We hope you enjoy hanging out with your friends and family," the Gmail team wrote in concluding the blog.